Arkansas Central Mortuary Service, Arkansas Coroners Association, Arkansas Free Press, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Kokes, Craighead County, Det. JC White, funeral director Jonesboro, Leonard Kraut Pope County Coroner, Little Rock Police Department, Milton Harbison Craighead County Chief deputy coroner, Nevada County Coroner William Mullins, Ouachita County Chief Deputy Coroner Allen Bass, Pulaski County Coroner Garland Camper, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines, Rob Donner, Saline County Coroner Will Bearden, Sebastian County Coroner Ken Denison, Stuart Smedley Garland County Coroner, Washington County Coroner Roger Morris
Tracking the Unidentified Dead
Nobody knows the last thought that went through her head, but Little Rock homicide Detective John “J.C.” White knows the last thing was a bullet.
She wore Arizona-brand carpenter jeans with a black leather belt and a large brown T-shirt. Over this, an extra-extra large dark blue windbreaker and jumpsuit pants while white-and-blue Reeboks clad her feet. A gold-and-silver link bracelet hung from her wrist. Standing between 5’3” and 5’7” with black hair and a nose broken earlier in life, the black woman could have been anywhere between 18 and 40.
On a walk with its owner in August 2002, a dog uncovered her tennis shoes and bones face-down under a pile of pink insulation behind an abandoned-looking house at 2772 Reservoir Road. The first responding officer would have started the investigation by preserving the scene, especially any physical evidence that would lead to identification of the victim or a suspect.
Dr. Cheryl May, a forensic anthropologist from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Criminal Justice Institute, estimated the victim’s body had been there for several months. Inventory of her various clothes would later help with educated guesses of her overall size. Pictures of the scene show an apparently abandoned house, but crime scene investigators found nothing of evidentiary value like a bullet casing or murder weapon – though they did find more of her teeth.
“Once you’ve exhausted everything on the scene, hopefully by then you’ve got her identified. And we just haven’t even gotten to the point of getting her identified yet,” White says. “We don’t know where to start. We got initial phone calls about what could have happened, this, that and the other, but in following up on that information, we always found out that the person who we thought that might’ve been killed was actually alive. Therefore that lead has been exhausted, so we move on to the next. At this point we just don’t have anything, we don’t have anything whatsoever. It’s frustrating, very frustrating.” Continue reading